President Trump had his first media interview since testing positive and set the record straight on numerous topics.
During the interview the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the next debate between Trump and Biden would be virtual.
“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump, said claiming they are “trying to protect” Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, that is ridiculous,” Trump added.
From The Hill:
Biden’s campaign indicated that the former vice president would participate.
“Vice President Biden looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” campaign spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.
Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 1, about a week ago.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who also was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, issued a statement later Thursday morning, describing the decision by the commission as a “pathetic” effort to “rush to Joe Biden’s defense.” He said that Trump would hold a campaign rally instead.
Trump’s comments seem to guarantee, for now, that next week’s debate will not happen, and they inject uncertainty into the final debate, scheduled for Oct. 22.
Trump has insisted that he won the first debate last week, but his aggressive performance has been criticized by Republicans as a missed opportunity that may have turned away some voters.
“Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration,” Stepien said.
“The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
Before his COVID-19 diagnosis, Trump had signaled he would oppose changes to the two remaining presidential debates.
The commission was weighing changes in order to instill more order, after the first debate descended into chaos last Tuesday as Trump frequently interrupted Biden and Fox News host Chris Wallace struggled to maintain order.